Productivity Tools

Perhaps this post is better for the CN, but I really wanted to include some images and elaborate on how I stay on top of the 1000 things I do. Obviously these work for me and not for others but – hey – if they help even one other person because I shared I feel that the typing was all worth it!

First, my love of Post-it Notes.  Seems to run in the family: my sister’s favorite Christmas gift ever was an office-size stack of 36 pads! Anyway, how I use them.

  1. divide the note in half.
  2. take a section and divide it in half.
  3. Repeat 2.
  4. Repeat 2.
  5. Repeat 2.
  6. Repeat 2.
  7. Repeat 2.
  8. Repeat 2. Or stop at this point, it’s up to you.
  9. In the biggest portion write what ABSOLUTELY needs to get done.
  10. In the sequentially smaller spots write tasks of lesser and lesser importance.

post it

It works because I’m such a visual person – the larger the space the more important the task.  Keeps me motivated! Make sure you draw a nice thick line through each one as it gets done and then crumple the crud out of that sticky! Then recycle it.

Next: make a TO-DON’T list. Yes, TO-DON’T. Ignore these things. On purpose.  There’s a difference between forgetting about them and ignoring them! I stole this idea from the Harvard Business Review Blog but the basic premise is that if you make a list – a conscious list – of things to ignore you’ll adhere to this better. Writing it down means something. I go the next step and add times to mine up until a certain point (usually 10am) I ignore my email. Nope, don’t check it. Don’t even open that tab. Smartphone blinky? Face down on the table. No. Focus. I typed mine for your consideration cause my handwriting is horrific! It’s a little contrived because I added to it for the sake of illustration… stay tuned for a real one I might be able to post.

to dontFinally this last one I’m not very good at explaining but it does a wonderful job at what it was made to do. If This Then That. IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without the g). Anyway, you can add “channels” (Facebook, Delicious, an RSS feed… there are sixty choices) that apply to the if portion

if an RSS feed updates…

and tell the program what to do when that happens.

then tweet a link to the article to my followers.

I find this incredibly useful for collecting articles with keywords, getting pinged when I have new followers on Twitter (and, Dr. Folwer! you can auto-tweet them a “thank you!” note. if new follower, then tweet “thanks for following me, @stupidtwitterexample!”)ifttt2

So just as a few random examples I have IFTTT send me a text message when the Yankees games start. If there’s a posting in the local Blacksburg Craigslist about a bicycle for sale I get an email. If it’s going to rain tomorrow I get a push notification to my phone. When a photo gets tagged of me on Facebook I have it downloaded to a Dropbox folder.  There are TONS of “recipes” out there and I’d be glad to show anybody how they work if you’re so inclined.


Later, people!


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